It seems as though so many things in life are constantly trying to steal our joy. From politics, to work stress, to the craziness of daily life, it can be hard to find the joy in each day.
We tend to think that joy is a product of stepping away from life and finding little ways to take a break or enjoy ourselves. Taking breaks can be important, but while doing this can lead to fleeting moments of happiness, it doesn’t lead to joy. The Theology of the Body reminds us that Joy is the fruit of living a meaningful, intimate, and virtuous life. Joy is that quality that allows us to have a deeper sense of rightness and contentment about our lives even when things are a little crazy or not going the way we’d like. Because Joy is a FRUIT of the Holy Spirit, you can’t pursue Joy directly. Cultivating joy means dedicating oneself to a life of meaningfulness, intimacy, and virtue regardless of our circumstances.
Here are three More2Life Hacks for cultivating joy in your heart:
1. Keep the Big Picture in Mind–Joy requires us to be able to step out of the chaos of everyday life and remember who we are and what’s important. This requires us to stay connected to God–to be able to see things from his point of view. Find ways to bring the present moment to God no matter how crazy it is. Ask him, “What do you want this moment to look like? How can I respond to this in a way that glorifies you?” Then re-engage the situation from this more graceful perspective. Keeping the big picture in mind helps you remain connected to what’s important
2. Be Kind–True joy comes from seeking little ways to be a gift to others all day long. As you go about your day, consciously ask yourself how you can make a difference in this moment? Is there something you can do to make this person’s day even a little easier or more pleasant? Is there something you can do to take down the tension in this situation? Is there some way you can surprise someone with a small thoughtful gesture or little act of service? You don’t have to be a martyr about it. In fact, it’s better if you aren’t. Just look for those little ways to be a gift or create caring connection while you’re passing by or passing through. These little acts of kindness increase your joy by helping you see all the ways you are making a positive difference in your world and in the lives of those around you.
3. Stay In School–Research shows that joyful people are eager students in the “school of life.” Joyful people are always open to seeing things from a new perspective, trying a new experience, and growing in ways that help them be stronger, healthier, more well-rounded people. Joyful people aren’t shy about sharing what they like. They know who they are and what they stand for, but they are open to discovering all the ways God is revealing himself to them through the people and the world around them. And the more ways we open ourselves to this experience of God the more his grace makes us joyful. So, be yourself, but don’t be afraid to be more, learn more and grow more.
For more information on how to live a more Joyful life, check out my book Broken Gods: Hope, Healing, and the Seven Longings of the Human Heart, or give us a call at Pastoral Solutions Institute (740.266.6461)
Don’t forget to tune in to More2Life, weekdays at 10am E/9am C on EWTN Global Catholic Radio/SiriusXM 130.